The Art of Collecting: An Interview With Lauren P. Della Monica
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In a technologically-driven creative culture, it’s easy to forget that the venerable tradition of landscape painting remains alive and well, albeit within a considerably broader framework. In Painted Landscapes: Contemporary Views, Lauren P. Della Monica delves into the work of 60 living artists—Alex Katz, Richard Estes and Lois Dodd, amongst — Continue reading …
In a technologically-driven creative culture, it’s easy to forget that the venerable tradition of landscape painting remains alive and well, albeit within a considerably broader framework. In Painted Landscapes: Contemporary Views, Lauren P. Della Monica delves into the work of 60 living artists—Alex Katz, Richard Estes and Lois Dodd, amongst them—for whom the American landscape remains a potent source of inspiration. Lauren—lucky for us—is also an experienced art consultant and curator, and was kind enough to share with us her valuable insights into art collecting, and some thoughts on how the internet has changed our relationship with the visual arts.
Lauren: There is simply no substitute for art being seen and experienced in person, so the internet poses an interesting conundrum for me in terms of viewing and collecting. I find the internet to be a helpful extra tool as a means of sharing and spreading information about art, but it is not a substitute for galleries, museums and auctions houses. Books and the internet are all amazing tools when used correctly, but not as a replacement for a personal experience.
2Modern: Is there something too significant lost in the process of viewing art online, or is that a reasonable trade-off for art becoming more democratic and accessible to all?
Lauren: Democracy and acccessibility are fundamental to artwork and its production and meaning, for what good is something if it isn’t shared and seen, debated and reviewed, discussed and appreciated? I love that one can go on the internet and see works of art from major international museums that he/she would never have the opportunity to see otherwise. This kind of access, part of a raging debate among museum professionals internationally, is a wonderful means of sharing a collection and presenting further opportunities for cultural awareness and education. However, there is no substitute for seeing something in person, and a digital reproduction cannot take the place of the original.
2Modern: What are your feelings about low-priced digital prints offered in limited editions for under $100. Is this, in general, a commendable thing, or one that devalues the act of collecting?
2Modern: At the recent New York Affordable Art Fair, a Damien Hirst screen print was selling for just over $2,000. How would you advice someone, from an investment standpoint, who has, say, $5K dollars to spend on art? To go with a low-grade work of a blue-chip artist, or an exceptional piece by a possible future star?
Lauren: This is a very typical question in my line of work. First off, one should always buy something he or she loves at any price point because given the illiquidity of art, chances are that he/she will be living with it for some time to come. The rest of this question hinges on someone’s risk appetite and willingness to take a chance on an unknown artist. My general view is to forego the chance to buy a very minor work by a big name artist (it is never going to be one of the more valuable works by, say, Hirst) in favor of an exceptional piece by an artist you like whose work you believe in and who has more of a chance to grow. An exceptional piece trumps a very minor piece.
2Modern: Having spent so much time with art collectors, what would you say is the primary reason people collect art? Is it the cache associated with being an art collector, or is it truly driven by passion for creative expression?
Lauren: People collect art for many different reasons, from supporting living artists to aspirational lifestyle reasons, but my experience has shown that most people collect for the love of living with beautiful objects tempered by the investment value of the art assets. Collectors basically want to make smart buying decisions and have the benefit of living with something that excites or challenges them.
Image: LPDM Fine Art